EWTN Catholic Q&A
Receiving Communion from the priest
Question from Olivia on 11-02-2012:

I am an extraordinary minister of holy Communion (EMHC) at my church. At daily Mass, the priest and I stand side by side at the base of the altar, and the congregants form two lines. Many times, there will be a long line of people to receive from the priest, while I am standing there with no one in my line. Also, there are usually some women wearing mantillas at Mass, and they will only receive the Eucharist from the priest. It seems to me that some Catholics would like to see us return to before Vatican II, when only the priest could give out Communion and women were required to cover their heads at Mass. I am quite certain that our Lord does not have a problem with me helping Father with Communion, and it saddens me when I am shunned by those who refuse to receive the Eucharist from me. What are your thoughts on this?

Answer by Catholic Answers on 11-06-2012:


Communicants have the right to receive Communion from the priest if they wish. They are not required to go to an EMHC, and an EMHC should not feel "shunned" if they do not do so. Rather, the pastor might want to re-evaluate whether EMHCs are needed at this daily Mass at all if the smaller number of communicants who attend daily Mass do not mind waiting to receive from him.

Please understand that your service at Mass as an EMHC is, by definition, extraordinary. That means "outside of the ordinary." The ordinary ministers of Communion are the priest and deacon. If the needs of the communicants are met by the ordinary ministers of Communion, then extraordinary ministers are not necessary. Perhaps EMHCs at your parish might still be needed at Sunday Mass or to take Communion to the homebound, and those are worthy ways of assisting the ordinary ministers of Communion.

As for our Lord, I caution you not to project your desires and preferences onto him and decide for the Lord that with which he does or does not "have a problem." Our Lord founded a Church, and the Church is the authority to whom we should turn to determine how best we can serve the Lord at Mass.

Michelle Arnold
Catholic Answers